Independent Investigator Martin F. Murphy announced today instructions for individuals who wish to share information that may be relevant to his investigation. These include instructions on how he and his team may be contacted, information concerning confidentiality, and other important details concerning the investigation process.
On January 20, 2016, the Board of Trustees of St. George’s School and SGS for Healing (an unincorporated association) jointly retained me and my firm, Foley Hoag LLP, in Boston, to conduct an independent investigation concerning sexual abuse at St. George’s School. Since being retained, I have formed a team to assist me in my investigation, and we have begun the process of gathering information relevant to the investigation. In the interest of transparency and to facilitate the process, we would like to share the following information.
Scope of the Investigation
The investigation will examine all matters relating to sexual abuse by faculty, staff, or students at St. George’s School and review the School’s responses to reports of alleged abuse from 1960 to the present.
Communications with Victims, Witnesses and Others
We encourage any victims of sexual abuse, any witnesses to an incident of sexual abuse, and other members of the St. George’s community (whether alumni, current employees, former employees, or others) who believe they have information relevant to the investigation to contact us. Anyone wishing to provide information, either directly or through legal counsel, should send an email to SGSInvestigation@foleyhoag.com or leave a message at 617-521-5000.
Expense Associated with Travel for Interviews
We will interview in person every victim of sexual assault who wishes to be interviewed in person. St. George’s School has agreed to pay the reasonable travel expenses of any victim who wishes to come to Boston to be interviewed. We will handle the payment process; neither St. George’s School nor SGS for Healing will know that an individual has traveled to Boston unless that individual chooses to make that information known. If victims would prefer not to travel, we are prepared to conduct telephone interviews. In the cases of witnesses to assaults, or others who wish to provide information, we will do our best to exercise good judgment about when it is necessary to conduct interviews in person rather than by telephone.
Confidentiality and its Limits in the Investigation
Because we have been engaged as independent investigators, we do not serve as legal counsel to any individual who contacts us—or as counsel to St. George’s School. Therefore, any communications with us will not be protected by the attorney-client privilege. St. George’s School and SGS for Healing have agreed that they will not seek to learn the identity of anyone who contacts us and wishes to speak confidentially. We will take appropriate steps to protect the identities of any individual who wishes to provide information confidentially, but we cannot guarantee that information will remain completely confidential if, for example, law enforcement seeks to obtain our records or there is subsequent litigation and the records are required to be produced in that litigation.
Individuals with Confidentiality Agreements
We understand that certain individuals—whether victims of sexual assault who have settled claims against St. George’s School or former employees whose separation agreements contain confidentiality agreements—may be concerned that speaking with us would constitute a violation of their agreements. We have been assured by counsel for St. George’s that any individual may communicate to us on any matter relevant to our investigation (or to law enforcement) regardless of any confidentiality agreement they may have with St. George’s School without fear that the School will contend that they have violated their agreements. To the extent that those individuals who have entered separation agreements and have engaged counsel to assist in communicating with us (or to law enforcement) about allegations of sexual abuse, they may also speak to their counsel. Likewise, as their representative, their counsel may speak to us or to law enforcement on such topics without violation of any confidentially agreements that the individual may have with St. George’s School. A letter confirming St. George’s School’s position on this issue is linked here.
At the conclusion of the investigation, we will issue a report with factual findings and, at our discretion, recommendations about steps St. George’s School should take going forward. We will exercise our independent, professional judgment in determining whether interim reports should be issued.
Said Anne Scott of SGS for Healing: “SGS for Healing is thrilled that Marty Murphy is getting the independent investigation launched so quickly. We have confidence in the process that he has put in place, and encourage survivors to participate should they wish to do so.”
Said Leslie Heaney, Chair of the School’s Board of Trustees: “It is our sincere hope that anyone with information to offer will contact Mr. Murphy. The Board remains committed to an exhaustive independent review to secure the truth and enable healing.”